Lately I am thinking of contingency. Standing in her office, my editor reminded me that writing is a job just as ditch-digging is. The ditch must be dug. Must not also the writing be written? She is right, of course. The ditch-digger goes to work and digs her ditch; so must the writer go to … More Contingencies

Field Day

It has always been the field at the bottom of our neighborhood, the backyard of the community pool. Earliest memory finds us there with baby William at his first Easter, eight months old and unable to walk and sitting in the sand that is the volleyball court. We were late for the egg hunt, but … More Field Day


This is the picture window in our breakfast room. It hasn’t always looked like this. I don’t think we wrote on it–ever–until Emma was home-schooled in the 7th grade. That’s when she helped me see that this window would make an excellent substitute for a white board. And so, throughout her three years of home-school, … More Window


“You can’t really see the days. I mean, look at the days with your eyes.”                                                                   -Theo, age 4. 1 July 2015December 1990: For … More Holidays

Worth the Effort

I didn’t know if I’d like it. Bill was confident I would. He knows that I like good, hard exercise, that when I finish a workout, I like to be gasping, panting, drenched through with sweat, and enjoying that crazy clean feeling in my bronchial tubes–a clean that only comes from breathing extra hard for … More Worth the Effort

Dreaming in Babies

Lately I dream in babies. Almost always they are my own, earlier incarnations of these same beings who, even now–at eighteen, and sixteen, and fourteen–do much to order my day. A week ago it was Emma, suddenly arriving while I visited with a friend who was in the midst of moving house. Boxes and displaced … More Dreaming in Babies

Summer Begins

I hadn’t wanted to go. An evening out on a Tuesday? It would have been easier (always) to stay home, and I am a willing servant to the novel. It’s quiet work, and at this point it means stepping carefully and lifting heavy stones to gather soil underneath them, adjusting their alignment, standing back to … More Summer Begins


There was a dinner plan. The spinach was thawing in its pie plate on the counter; the grocery stop would only take a minute. We would be eating (after the soccer game) by 6:30. And then the plan was changed: Bill and I would go out; the kids would be eating at home. And so … More 4.23.2013

A Room of Her Own

“a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction….” — Virginia Woolf A long, lazy drive to Charlottesville, taking nearly all back roads and finding myself (I recognized it before I read the sign) at the entrance to Somerset Farm. It wasn’t where I was going, but I headed up … More A Room of Her Own